LEUVEN, Belgium, January 15 /PRNewswire/ -- ThromboGenics NV and Geymonat SpA announced today that the European Union has approved a Euro 2 million grant to the VASOPLUS consortium, a development programme for a new class of pro-angiogenesis agents. The funded research for VASOPLUS will be conducted within a consortium that will comprise ThromboGenics, Geymonat, Roche Diagnostics (Germany), Eurogentec S.A. (Belgium) and three expert academic groups - University of Leuven (Cardiology Department) in Belgium, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Italy, and University of the Free State in South Africa.
The financial support, which will come from EU's Framework Programme 6, will contribute over the next two years to the further development of Placental Growth Factor (PlGF) and analogues of this pro-angiogenic cytokine for treatment of ischemic heart disease, peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD), tissue regeneration and wound healing.
The pro-angiogenic growth factor PlGF is a homologue of VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). However, PlGF interacts with receptors in a manner which is different from VEGF. While VEGF has shown promise in the treatment of ischemic conditions, its therapeutic potential is hampered by dose-limiting side effects. Therefore, it is thought that PlGF, due to its more specific activity and targeted pro-angiogenic effect, may allow for an improved risk-benefit ratio, with fewer side effects than VEGF.
Toxicology and safety pharmacology studies have been completed both by ThromboGenics and Geymonat in a number of relevant in vivo models, and showed that PlGF is well tolerated even at doses much higher than needed for efficacy .
Professor Desire Collen, CEO and Chairman of ThromboGenics, commented on this EU grant: "This funding from the European Community for the VASOPLUS programme will assist us to further develop our understanding of the importance of PlGF, and to demonstrate the advantages of this growth factor over similar treatment options, including VEGF. We are grateful for this validation from the EU, and look forward to continuing our research efforts to bring a potentially valuable therapy to the clinic."
Dr. Giuseppe Salvia, GM and Managing Director of Geymonat, added, "Our experience is an outstanding example of cooperation among companies and distinguished research centres, having different cultures and background, but sharing the desire to contribute their professional competence and experience to the success of a research project designed to benefit the medical community."
ThromboGenics is a biotechnology company focused on discovery and development of biopharmaceuÃ‚Âticals for the treatment of a range of vascular diseases. The Company has several programs in Phase II clinical development including microplasmin, which is being evaluated as a treatment for vitreoretinal disorders and as a thrombolytic agent for vascular occlusive diseases, including acute stroke. ThromboGenics also has five other drug candidates in preclinical development with preclinical proof-of-principle demonstrated, including TB-402 (Anti-Factor VIII) and TB-403 (Anti-PlGF). The Company has built strong links with the University of Leuven and has exclusive rights to certain therapeutics developed at the University. ThromboGenics is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has subsidiaries in Ireland and the U.S. The Company is listed on Eurolist by Euronext Brussels under the symbol THR. More information is available at www.thrombogenics.com.
Geymonat is a privately held company headquartered in Catania, Italy, with laboratories and manufacturing facilities in Anagni (near Rome), Italy. The company specializes in research, production and international distribution of ethical medicines, OTC products, food supplements, medical devices and dermatological cosmetics. Geymonat is continuing its research on PlGF-1 in cooperation with important universities and pharmaceutical companies, in particular in the area of hemato-oncology. Geymonat has also developed PlGF-1 mutein, which might have interesting applications in the field of therapeutics, diagnostics and cosmetics. In addition, Geymonat has a global reputation, with business relationships with several notable companies, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Cosme de Beaute Ltd, Dompe International, Ferrer Int., Galenica Holding, GSK, Natural Science Inc., Nippon Organon, Procter & Gamble, Laboratoires Seaderm and HIPP. More information is available at http://www.geymonat.com.
Important information about forward-looking statements
Certain statements in this press release may be considered "forward-looking". Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, and, accordingly, entail and are influenced by various risks and uncertainties. The Company therefore cannot provide any assurance that such forward-looking statements will materialize and does not assume an obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or any other reason. Additional information concerning risks and uncertainties affecting the business and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statement is contained in the prospectus.
For further information please contact:
Prof. Desire Collen
Chief Business Officer
Dr. Giuseppe Salvia
GM and Managing Director
Citigate Dewe Rogerson:
David Dible / Valerie Auffray